Sunday, December 09, 2012

Shiny Things

On the sideboard in our dining room there are two canteens of cutlery. Like many objects, these carry many symbolic meanings.  The one on the right is mine, bought in the mid-80s when it was still the style to entertain with good china.  I thought that this silver plated set of cutlery would be just the ticket.  Not that I gave many dinner parties, you understand, but if the occasion arose I would be ready.  There is no doubt that it is showing its age now, even with minimal usage.

The one on the left, however, belongs to my husband.  He inherited it from his maternal grandfather.  Amazingly, this very canteen of cutlery was given to my husband's grandfather, George Johnson, for his twenty-first, in - we think - 1926.

This picture shows him on that occasion, along with the canteen, bottom right, and his other presents: a walking-stick, a suitcase, and what is almost certainly a box of fish-knives.  Perhaps only the suitcase would qualify as present for a young man these days. 

It has to be said that neither of these two sets is really suitable for day-to-day use, and we have been using an assortment of stainless steel which will go in the dishwasher.  However, since we have retired we have taken to actually dining in our dining room, as opposed to eating on trays in front of the television.  So it seemed time to upgrade.

In Chipping Campden there is the specialist cutlery shop, Robert Welch.  He was a designer who started out in 1955 in the Guild of Handicraft building just around the corner from the present shop.  We have bought a carving set and some serving items from there before, but now we bought a whole set, in the Radford pattern which seems to be their standard line.  It is very shiny, and has a lovely handle.  We added some round-bowled soup spoons - these are no longer in vogue apparently.  And I just had to have this spoon - especially when told that this is the "Gourmet spoon".  Gourmand, more like, I'd have thought.  We'll be dining in style now.


1 comment: said...

I like your shiny things! I too have a canteen from my maternal grandmother which looks remarkably similar - even to that beading on the edge of the box - although mine is laid out rather differently inside! I also have her set of fish knives and forks. They both sit in a cupboard and are rarely bought out.
We use very cheap ikea for every day and when we upgraded to a modern canteen recently we bought Laguiole - which is lovely - with an extra set of steak knives and forks. However the mistake of buying that make was that it, like my grandmother's needs to be hand washed.......I'm still at work so we still eat on trays in front of the tv......and only bring out the posh stuff for high days and holidays! Mostly in the hopes that we will have the energy to hand wash it !
I also still have my original Denby dinner service - do you?